From the days of Bob Dylan “going electric” to Radiohead selling one of its albums directly from its website, many musicians over the years have embraced new, creative avenues to reach a wider audience. Platforms like Twitter and YouTube have been popular sites to integrate into a marketing strategy, however new and veteran artists are now turning to Google+ to interact with and build communities.

With a bit of creativity, you can turn a Google+ Page into a fully-branded, entertaining, and meaningful online experience for fans. Here are four examples of musicians using Google+ right.

1. Daria Musk

Daria Musk was one of the first performers to make waves on Google’s social network. Musk, who has more than 316,000 followers on Google+, has been able to play hours of live music for a changing audience using the video chat feature, Hangouts.

On New Year’s Eve she used Google+ Hangouts On Air — which lets you broadcast to a larger audience and upload the video to YouTube post-broadcast — to countdown to 2012 in almost every time zone around the world from her studio in Connecticut. Thousands of people tuned in as she rang in the New Year with fans from Dubai, Scotland, Indonesia, and beyond.

2. Mark Hoppus

mark-hoppus

No stranger to hanging out, Blink 182’s bassist Mark Hoppus has participated in a few Hangouts with fans. Last summer, before Google+ Brand Pages were released, Hoppus revealed the name of the band’s sixth studio LP — which was released in September 2011 — during a Hangout. The bassist also shares exclusive content with fans, including behind the scenes photos from video shoots, rehearsals, and his FUSEtv show — “Hoppus on Music.”

Hoppus continues utilizing Google+ Hangouts as a way to communicate with fans. The video chats pull in many comments, mostly from people that missed the opportunity to chat. While random chats are fun, it might be helpful to throw a few scheduled Hangouts into the mix so those that really want to participate can be sure to make it.

3. will.i.am

Will.i.am made headlines when Google promoted the Black Eyed Peas Hangout on its front page — a highly coveted piece of real estate. The artist hosts regular Hangouts where he and his friends engage fans in conversation and show off some dance moves. This particular Hangout On Air session was different because after about 20 minutes of chatting, he joined the rest of the Black Eyed Peas on stage for a concert in New York City. Anyone participating had the best seat in the house as the camera was onstage with the rest of the band.

After the concert a viewer asked what he thought music will look like in the future. Will.i.am replied, “It looks like this. I think music in the future is people collaborating here on Google+ Hangout sessions. I think it’s shows like this…” He later went on to add that after concerts, artists should get off the stage, hop on Google+, and interact more with fans.

In addition to participating in regular Hangouts, Will.i.am also uses the social network to share behind the scenes photos and even released his new single — recorded with Mick Jagger and JLo — on Google+ before performing it at the American Music Awards the following night.

4. Britney Spears

Britney Spears is one of the most popular musical performers on the social network. Recently she surpassed Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page and became the first Google+ member to reach 1 million followers. Spears has taken a more traditional approach to Google+; she shares updates and photos from behind the scenes at shoots and concerts, as well as photos of her personal vacations and day-to-day happenings.

Spears also effectively utilizes Google’s +1 Button, (similar to Facebook’s Like button), by highlighting interesting content like concert news mentions and YouTube videos. This is a great way to create an informational database for visitors, but it also acts as a digital high-five to content creators.

Since Google+ is newer than established networks like Facebook and Twitter, it provides artists with the opportunity to push the boundaries of how they connect with their fans. If you’re feeling inspired, check out this list of recommended musicians to follow on Google+.

[Image credit: Derek GaveyCliff Roth, Mark Hoppus, Will.i.am, Britney Spears]